Rewards are a great way to recognize your small businesses in small towns. Unfortunately, most corporate awards encourage those who need the least incentive: those who are successful in the long run.
Of course, your long-time companies deserve some recognition. It also helps to inspire others to see success. Keep doing it. Do not let this be the only recognition.
Choose 20 (or more!) Local businesses that started this year. Give them all a Business Rising Star award. All.
Important Note: You do not have the right to be rewarded by a chamber of commerce or an official organization. You might just be a small group of people who care about the city and want to give rewards. Do not wait for permission. Just start.
Find your rising stars
This forces you to discover all the new businesses in your city. Do not you think you have 20 new businesses this year? Look harder.
Now you have 20! Maybe more.
You know how surprised you were to find these 20 new companies? Imagine how many other people in town are going to be surprised. By publicly sharing these promising new ventures, you are changing the way people think about your city. You make people aware of the very idea of being entrepreneurs.
Support your rising stars
In addition to obvious elements such as certificates and public recognition, give all 20 companies support. Host an hour or two of mentoring or meeting with a business advisor. (Here's a list of business support services that might help, maybe they could divide the list of rising stars and help everyone a few.)
Do not choose a single winner and give him a big package. You do not know which ones will succeed. Even professionals, like loan officers who do nothing else, have trouble picking winners at an early stage. You can never know which company can be affected by a natural disaster, lose a major customer, suffer a critical data loss or be bankrupt when a family member gets sick.
It is better to spread your potential prices and provide support to all.
Keep watching these rising stars
Then, in 5 years, give all the rising stars that surround it a new momentum, more recognition and more support. Each year, keep adding a new group of 20 rising stars.
The broader goal
It's more than enough to occupy an annual banquet. This changes the trajectory of your city's commercial ecosystem.
- You discover many potential entrepreneurs
- You support a company that starts small or even small
- You build a continuous network of new local entrepreneurs
- You claim to be a community full of entrepreneurs, which changes the way people see your community
When you do that, we want to hear about it. Show us in comments or email.
Deb Brown and I share other ideas like this in our latest video at SaveYour.Town, Develop Your Own Entrepreneurs. The video is available on request from Friday, November 9, 2018 and is only available for two weeks. Your questions, stories and examples from your own city are also welcome.
About Becky McCray
Becky launched Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share stories and ideas of building businesses and rural communities with other small businessmen. She and her husband own an Alva, Oklahoma liquor store and a small ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.
- What business does every small town need? A store filled with small retail spaces – November 5, 2018
- How Any Business Can Become Part of Downtown Events By Becoming Mobile 29th October 2018
- Support local entrepreneurship by awarding corporate awards to rising stars – 22 October 2018
- Why do people say that there is nothing to do here, so do not come to our concerts? – 15 October 2018
- Need more volunteers? Give everyone a small role – 8th of October 2018
- Retailers: Fill in all the empty spaces, from floor to ceiling – 1st of October 2018
- Container companies in the city center: do not make this big mistake – September 24, 2018
- Easy Economic Development Tip: Write all the new businesses in your small town – September 17, 2018
- Trade builds communities – September 10, 2018
- Quick overview of local tourism trends – September 3, 2018